Basilica says `no' to Japanese request

Panaji: Japanese followers of St. Francis Xavier have requested Goa-based Basilica of Bom Jesus management to hand over holy relics of the patron saint to be flown to Japan for exposition.

"The request had come from Jesuits in Japan as St. Francis Xavier is venerated in that country, but we refused to hand over the relics," stated Fr Savio Barretto, rector, Basilica of Bom Jesus. Holy relics of St. Francis Xavier have been preserved at the Basilica after his death in 1552.

Since then, the relics are intact and are kept for exposition at regular interval.

"Japan wanted the relics for a week as this year is the 500th birth anniversary of the saint. They had planned to take the relics and had even agreed to charter a flight. All cost would have been borne by them. But we were reluctant as the relics have never left Goa," Fr. Barretto said. PTI